MOZA R5 vs Fanatec CSL DD: Which Racing Wheel Is Best?

Both the MOZA Racing R5 and the Fanatec CSL DD wheels produce 5Nm of peak torque making them direct rivals. I'll put them head to head in this comparison to find out which racing wheel is the better buy.

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Fanatec CSL DD vs MOZA R9

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Both Fanatec and MOZA Racing produce small form-factor direct drive wheel bases with a peak torque figure of 5Nm, although the MOZA R5 edges out Fanatec slightly at 5.5Nm of peak torque. But with two products that both look very similar, are priced relatively similar and produce incredibly similar force feedback, which is the better buy?

In this head-to-head comparison article, I’ll put both the MOZA R5 and Fanatec CSL DD through their paces and compare every aspect. At the end of this guide, the goal is to have a clear winner of which racing wheel is the best pick.

Comparing the MOZA R5 and Fanatec CSL DD

Let’s start by comparing both the R5 wheel base and the CSL DD wheel base head to head. It is important at the very start to see what the differences are, so we can factor those differences in when comparing various aspects of both racing wheels.

Below is a comparison table that shows the similarities and differences between both the R5 and CSL DD.

MOZA R5Fanatec CSL DD
Price$319$349.95
FFB Strength5.5Nm5Nm
PlatformsPC OnlyXbox & PC
UpgradableNoYes (To 8Nm)
Cheapest bundle$599$399.85
Where to buyBuy from MOZABuy from Fanatec

You’ll see that they’re both priced similarly, although the MOZA R5 price doesn’t include tax whilst the CSL DD does. This can in some countries, make the R5 more expensive than the CSL DD.

The performance figures are very similar with the R5 edging out the CSL DD slightly. However, you can upgrade the CSL DD to 8Nm if you wish. And the last big difference is that the Fanatec wheel base is compatible with Xbox consoles, while the MOZA wheel base is not.


Fanatec CSL DD

Now that we’ve looked at both racing wheels, I wanted to talk about each wheel in more detail. The Fanatec CSL DD was the wheel base that started the push for more affordable and smaller direct drive racing wheels.

When the CSL DD was first launched, it was revolutionary in that no other sim racing manufacturer had a small direct drive wheel on the market.

Inside the metal casing is a small direct drive motor that is mounted directly to the wheel shaft. This approach does away with any internal gears or belts and lets the driver feel all of the forces that are generated. Read our comparison on direct drive vs gear and belt driven wheels for more info on why direct drive is far superior.

The exterior casing of the CSL DD acts as a heat sink, with the aggressive-looking fins designed intentionally to dissipate the internal heat. This makes it possible to build the CSL DD without an internal fan, making it incredibly quiet to operate.

The CSL DD is compatible with all current Fanatec products from steering wheels to pedals, and the newest QR2 quick release. It’s also compatible with Xbox consoles but does require an Xbox-compatible steering wheel to enable this functionality.

Racing Wheel – Fanatec CSL DD
Compatibility – PC, Xbox Series X|S
Price – From €/$349.95
Where to buyBuy from Fanatec EU / Buy from Fanatec US


MOZA Racing R5

The MOZA Racing R5 launched after the Fanatec CSL DD, and it was really designed to compete with the Fanatec racing wheel head-to-head. It looks incredibly similar in terms of its overall shape, although its design is far less aggressive and smaller than the Fanatec wheel.

The peak torque figure that is ever-so-important when shopping for the best direct drive racing wheels sits at 5.5Nm. That is just above the CSL DD, and that is no coincidence. MOZA looked to make a statement with the launch of the R5 wheel and the force feedback strength just beating out the Fanatec racing wheel sure did that.

Much like the Fanatec CSL DD, the MOZA R5 is widely compatible with all other MOZA products. However, unlike the Fanatec CSL DD, the R5 racing wheel is only compatible with PC, and has no expanded Xbox compatibility.

Racing Wheel – MOZA R9
Compatibility – PC
Price – £409/$439
Where to buyBuy from MOZA


MOZA R5 vs Fanatec CSL DD bundle comparison

While you can pick up both of these racing wheel bases individually without any other sim racing products, you can also buy them both as part of a bundle.

Opting to buy the individual wheel base is great if you already have products from within the ecosystem, or if you want a truly custom sim racing setup. However, the main benefit of opting for a bundle is that you will often save some money compared to buying all products individually.

Fanatec really has the edge when it comes to bundling the CSL DD with other Fanatec products. It is currently running an offer where the CSL DD costs just €199.95 when purchased in a bundle. This makes most entry-level Fanatec bundles cheaper than equivalent MOZA bundles.

Below is an overview of some of the best sim racing bundles available from both brands.

BundlePrice
MOZA R5 Bundle$599.00
Fanatec CSL DD Bundle€399.85
Fanatec CSL DD BMW Bundle€419.85
Fanatec CSL DD McLaren Bundle€479.85

I have only included a small selection of bundles available from Fanatec. In total, they have over 10 different bundles that include the CSL DD wheel base. Each of these includes a different combination of steering wheel, pedals and accessories.

When we talk about MOZA R5 bundles, there is only a single bundle available currently. MOZA does offer a bigger bundle selection on their R9 and R12 wheel bases. However, if you are looking at the R5 wheel, you only have the choice of the single bundle above.


Design & aesthetics

The design of both the Fanatec CSL DD and MOZA R5 is a very subjective topic. The CSL DD has a much more aggressive design than the more simplified aesthetics of the MOZA R5.

Fanatec CSL DD design

Fanatec has opted for an ultra-aggressive design to really allow for the maximum amount of heat dissipation whilst sim racing. Each of the grooves acts as a heatsink to draw heat away from the internals of the wheel base, letting you race for longer periods without the risk of the wheel getting too hot.

Other than the grooves, the design is very boxy with an almost completely square shape. At the front of the CSL DD, you get the wheel shaft protruding, and by default, it utilises the older QR1 quick release system. You can opt to upgrade this to the newer QR2 quick release at an extra cost.

Around the rear of the wheel is a selection of connection ports. These allow you to connect various Fanatec peripherals directly to the wheel base, which is required for Xbox compatibility.

MOZA R5 design

The MOZA R5 opts to go in a completely different direction than the Fanatec CSL DD with its exterior design. There are no fins, and the whole design is more mature. On both the left and right sides of the R5 wheel and across the top are a series of fins that protrude, again designed for heat dissipation.

I like the simplified approach that MOZA has taken, however, it certainly doesn’t have the same impact that the CSL DD has. If you like a bold design, you’d probably prefer the Fanatec wheel. The MOZA wheel base is smaller making it easier to mount and position it on your sim rig. You’ll be able to better tuck it up and under your monitor for the ideal driving position.

Much like the CSL DD, the rear of the MOZA R5 wheel does feature a range of ports that let you connect pedals and other peripherals. However, these are less important on the R5 wheel base as they aren’t required to be used while racing on a PC. The R5 has no Xbox compatibility, so you can simply connect your other sim racing gear to your PC directly.


Performance

The performance category is the part of these two wheels where one should be better than the other. And this is where you want your racing wheel to stand up well. If a racing wheel isn’t very good in its performance, it probably isn’t worth considering.

The good news is that both of these small direct drive wheels have very good performance. The Fanatec CSL DD is slightly older, giving the MOZA racing wheel the edge in terms of the recency of its launch. However, that doesn’t automatically mean the MOZA wheel performs better than the CSL DD.

The Fanatec CSL DD is a brilliantly performing racing wheel and one that I would recommend to pretty much anyone shopping in this price range. The quality of the force feedback detail and the smaller forces are very well represented with the CSL DD.

The MOZA R5 is certainly no slouch though. It does produce ever so slightly more peak torque than the CSL DD, and you can feel that while racing back to back. If you only raced with one wheel or the other, you probably wouldn’t notice too much difference in strength. It’s only apparent when going directly from one to the other.

The one true advantage that the Fanatec CSL DD does have over the MOZA R5 is that you can upgrade its performance to 8Nm. This is done via an optional Boost Kit that costs around €150. This will improve the strength of the wheel right into my ideal sweet spot for force feedback strength.

Picking a winner in a purely performance battle is tricky. At 5Nm and 5.5Nm respectively, both wheels perform incredibly well. However, I would choose the Fanatec CSL DD almost every time due to the ability to upgrade to 8Nm without buying a new wheel.

Quick Releases

The quick releases aren’t overly important if you only plan on racing with a single steering wheel. If you do however have a few different steering wheels, you may want to switch between them periodically. This is where the quick release comes into play.

Fanatec has recently upgraded its quick release system to the QR2 system. This is a big improvement over the older QR1. But at the time of this comparison, the Fanatec CSL DD comes with the QR1 as standard, and the QR2 is a paid extra.

MOZA’s quick release system is without a doubt one of my favourite quick releases in the whole of sim racing, and I would say I prefer it over the newer Fanatec QR2. This would lead me to give the win to the MOZA QR system.


Compatibility

When comparing the compatibility of both the R5 and CSL DD, there is a clear winner. Both racing wheels are compatible with their entire ecosystem of products, meaning your choice over which set of products you prefer is yours. If you like MOZA steering wheels and pedals more than Fanatec’s, opting for the R5 is a more common sense approach.

However, when it comes to compatibility with platforms and consoles, the Fanatec CSL DD wins. It is the only wheel of the two to feature Xbox compatibility. You can use the CSL DD with a range of steering wheels and pedals on an Xbox One, Series S or Series X console. And you simply cannot do that with the MOZA R5.


Price

Price is a huge factor when upgrading or buying new sim racing products. The good thing is that both the CSL DD and R5 wheels are competitively priced with each other. On paper, the MOZA R5 is the cheaper of the two wheels, however, the price listed on the MOZA website doesn’t always include tax. When you factor that in, the R5 does become more expensive.

The Fanatec CSL DD is also cheaper when you buy it as a bundle compared to the R5, making the CSL DD better value all around.


Overall winner

If I were to recommend one racing wheel over the other, my pick would have to be the Fanatec CSL DD. While both racing wheels are incredibly impressive and well-priced, a lot of your buying decision comes down to which ecosystem you prefer. I would say that the Fanatec racing wheel has more benefits compared to the MOZA wheel.

For a start, the CSL DD is the only wheel of the two that is Xbox compatible, and it’s the only wheel that can be easily upgraded. The performance of both racing wheels is incredibly comparable, making the real deciding factor the benefits that the Fanatec wheel brings.

Fanatec CSL DD


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Frequently Asked Questions

Is MOZA better than Fanatec?

Both MOZA Racing and Fanatec have wide sim racing ecosystems with incredibly high-quality products. I wouldn’t say one company is better than the other, but many sim racers may prefer one over the other.

Is Fanatec CSL DD smoother than the MOZA R5?

The force feedback performance that the CSL DD and R5 both produce is incredibly detailed and smooth. There really isn’t too much difference between how both racing wheels perform.

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Article written by Rich

Co-Founder of SimRacingSetups.com

Rich is the co-founder, and one of the main F1 setup creators and content writers for SimRacingSetups. With over a decade of experience as a graphic designer, marketing director, competitive sim racer and avid motorsport fan, Rich founded SimRacingSetup.com to share his passion and knowledge of sim racing and Formula 1 with other sim racers.

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